IBF Light Middleweight champion Kassim “The Dream” Ouma recently took the time out of his rigorous training schedule, which partly consist of visiting the top gyms in the Philadelphia area, and sparring with some of the best talent that the city of brotherly love has to offer, as he prepares for his first title defense against hard hitting Ghana (West Africa) representative “Sir” Kofi Jantuah. In this one on one exclusive, Ouma lets it be clearly known that he feels Jantuah is a very tough cookie, and is aware that last seven that attempted to do what he plans on doing the 29th of January on HBO, didn’t make it to the final round, but confidently adds “None of those guys that he knocked out was Kassim Ouma”. Read on to see what else Ouma had to say about his African rival, the breakdown of the whole East Africa vs. West Africa rivalry and his plans of representing solely as Africa’s only world champion. RC: What’s going on Kassim? How are you feeling going into your first title defense?
KO: I am chilling getting ready man. In preparation I am preparing myself very hard. I am fighting a tough guy so I have to prepare and train hard.RC: Give us your thoughts on Kofi Jantuah as a fighter?
KO: Kofi is a tough cookie, very very tough. I saw him fight and beat everybody. He has champions not wanting to fight him, like Daniel Santos, he was suppose to fight him when he knocked out Rubio but Santos didn’t want to give him another chance because he beat him the first time. So that tells you how tough he is.RC: From what I understand you and Kofi are friends, how do you prepare yourself mentally going into the ring against someone you’re cool with?
KO: Well this fight on the 29th is going to be about the best man winning. Just because I am the African champion representing all of Africa it is like a beef with Kofi.RC: Does it bother you any being that you are friends with him outside the ring, or does all of that goes out the door when the bell rings?
KO: It really doesn’t bother me, because I will fight whoever comes in my face, whoever they call me to fight, I will fight. I’m a fighter, I fight, I don’t back down from nobody. So they said I have to fight Kofi, so that is going to be the first fight I have to defend my title in. RC: In other words, he is your opponent on the 29th of January and you are just looking to take him out of there?
KO: That’s it, I am a champion. I am not going put myself down, Kofi is a tough cookie, he is an African guy, he represents Africa, we both represent the continent but I am from the East and he is from the West. So the East is happy that they have the only champion coming out of Africa, and the West wants that championship to, but I am defending it, I work too hard to get my title, so I am not going to let it go.RC: So with the whole West coast of Africa rooting for him you know he is going to be coming more motivated than ever to take your title.
KO: Yeah, he is going to try to come and take my title, but he is not going to get it. I know he is going to try his best because he is going to be representing his side. I have the only title from Africa, and I am the one that is going to keep on representing for Africa.RC: You have always taken on tough fights, and fought stiff competition throughout your career; but in this upcoming fight against Jantuah, would you agree that this is probably your stiffest test to date in the ring mainly because of his one punch power?
KO: I don’t know, we are going to have to find out when we both get in the ring. Like I told you before, he is a very tough cookie and I am not going to say it is going to be easy.RC: Going into camp, has his punching power been a major concern?
KO: I always go into camp and train real hard for all of my fights, I love training. I am in Philly and I am doing a lot of boxing around here with a bunch of different people. I’m not scared of his punch; I know he has it (punching power). He has like seven wins in a row, but none of those guys that he knocked out was Kassim Ouma. You see out of all of those guys he fought, none of them was me.RC: Have you prepared any differently for this fight?
KO: It is my first defense against a tough guy, so I know that I just have to be ready for anything. All of my fights are just like another fight to me, I always fight tough fights so I have to always train hard. Anytime I step into a ring with another fighter I am ready, and I train hard to get ready. While I am training now, I am thinking that I am a champion, I got something that Kofi needs, and not only Kofi but his whole country. All of his people from Ghana needs Kofi to beat me and take my title. The people from West African want him to win the title. Like right now, the Eastern people are proud of me and cheering for me because I am the only champion from Africa and I am from the East.RC: From what I understand, normally as long as you are from Africa you’ll have everyone behind you, cheering for you, but you mean to tell me that this fight is going to divide the continent with people from the West rooting for him and people from the East backing you?
KO: YEAH! That is how it is going to be, and then those who are like already his fans, I am going to have to win them in this fight, but before the fight it is going to be West against East. RC: The last time you were in Vegas I heard you spoke to Kofi, what was it like then?
KO: When I was in Vegas we were just messing around, and Hasim Rahman was talking to Kofi and called me over to ask me what would I do if I was to ever fight Kofi, and I told them that I didn’t really want to fight Kofi unless he had another title. Pretty much I wanted him to fight (Daniel) Santos (WBO Champion) and take his title, so that we can have two African fighters unifying. But since it didn’t happen like that I ended up having to fight him anyway, and I never back down from nobody so I took the fight. I’m like Bone Crusher, I aint never scared!RC: Is there anything you wou...
KO: (Cutting in) I pretty much don’t have much to say right now…..Hey when you see him tell him that he needs to be ready because I am getting ready myself. I am the champion and I love mine, and I am not letting it go. I came a long way from bumps, bruises, broken wounds and everything; I came back and fought all of those tough fighters so I am here to make it happen. Like I said before I am here to takeover, so now that I have one title I am not letting it go, I want all of those titles for me. I am going to be the first African fighter to become undisputed.
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